Correct preparation for an embryo transfer is necessary to give you the best chance of success. But IVF is as much an emotional treatment as it is medical, and being properly prepared can take a lot of the stress out of the process.

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.

Here is our short guide to help you prepare for your upcoming embryo transfer procedure.

Take the correct medication

There are many different ways to prepare the endometrium for a transfer and none have been shown to be better than the other.

Unless you’re having a completely natural cycle frozen embryo transfer cycle you are likely to need medication to prepare the endometrium.

This usually involves oestrogen in the form of tablets or a patch to thicken the lining of the womb which is normally checked by ultrasound scan.

Progesterone is added several days before the planned embryo transfer procedure. For a fresh transfer this is started the night of egg collection. For frozen transfers progesterone is started the same number of days before as the stage of transfer. (i.e. 3 days before for a day 3 embryo, or 5 days before for a blastocyst transfer).

Speak with your doctor about any medications that are required before the transfer procedure.

Find out what to expect

An embryo transfer procedure is less invasive than an egg collection.

During an embryo transfer procedure, the embryos are placed in a nutrient-rich culture medium. This medium is then loaded into a special soft transfer catheter.

A doctor will position the speculum so they can see the cervix and an ultrasound probe is placed on the abdomen. The catheter is gently inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The catheter position is confirmed using the ultrasound and then then used to guide the embryos into the uterus.

Once the embryos are in place, the catheter is removed and the procedure is complete. The embryos will then continue to develop in the uterus.

Get an adequate amount of rest the night before transfer day.

You want to make sure you are well-rested before transfer day. Avoid caffeine the day before.

Eat a healthy, balanced meal the day of transfer.

There are no foods that you should eat, or avoid before your transfer. Eating a Mediterranean-style diet may increase your chances of IVF success. This type of diet includes:

  • plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts,
  • a moderate amount of fish, poultry, dairy, and red meat.

The diet is rich in healthy fats such as olive oil, and is low in processed foods, saturated fats, and refined sugars.

Plan how to get to the clinic on time.

You don’t want to be stressed about being late for your transfer. Plan how you’re going to get there. Consider traffic and parking.

Wear loose-fitting, clothing.

It helps to be as comfortable as possible. Remember, the doctor will need to get to your bottom half, so it’s probably not the best day for a trouser suit.

Have someone with you to provide emotional support.

Take someone with you to provide support during and after the procedure so that you’re not going through this alone.

Relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing may help to reduce stress.

This simple practice that can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and bring a sense of calm.

Breathing Exercise
  1. Start by finding a comfortable and quiet place to sit. You may want to close your eyes if it helps you to focus.
  2. Begin to take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Try to inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and then slowly exhale for a count of four.
  3. Focus on the sensation of the breath and how your body is feeling as you do this.
  4. As you inhale, imagine the air is filled with a sense of calm and relaxation. As you exhale, imagine releasing any tension or stress from your body.
  5. Continue this slow, deep breathing for several minutes.
  6. When you’re finished, take a few moments to process the emotions you may be feeling.

Make plans for after the transfer

After an embryo transfer, it is important to take it easy and rest as much as possible. But complete bed rest has been shown to reduce the chance of pregnancy.

Avoid strenuous exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, and long periods of standing or sitting. It is also recommended to avoid hot tubs or saunas for the first few days.


Follow these tips to help make your embryo transfer experience easier. Share your tips in the comments.


Matt is an NHS Consultant in Newcastle with over ten years of experience. His PhD research into subfertility and miscarriage involved developing a clinical trial and patient engagement.